Creating the Perfect Wedding Gift Bags

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We’re typically knee-deep in wedding gift bags at the height of wedding season so we’ve seen lots of options. In our experience, about 40 percent of couples choose to provide welcome bags. If most of the guests are from out of town or if it is a destination wedding, hotel bags are even more likely. They are, by no means, required or expected, but they can be a fun project. Gift bags can run the gamut from simple and chic to over-the-top wow.

The first question to ask yourself is one of functionality. Often the point of welcome gift bags is to provide a few travel amenities for guests to enjoy during their hotel stay, information about wedding events, some suggestions of things to do in and around town and to provide a small memento of the wedding or area.

Depending on where you’re hosting the event, the town or city may have a fun illustrated map of the local area. These are typically available at a local visitor’s center free of charge and are great for out of town guests who may be looking for places to shop or local attractions to visit during their stay.

You’ll also want to include a personalized letter with complete information on reception times, shuttle and other travel info to and from wedding events, and contact numbers. Sure, most guests will already know the details, or have someone to call if they aren’t certain, but the personalized detail is a great touch.

Most gift bags also typically include one or two bottles of water, some snacks such as chips, cookies, trail mix, chocolate or granola bars. The most lavish gift bag I have ever seen included a custom bottle of wine, an expensive wine opener, personalized Tervis tumblers and a CD of the artist who performed at the wedding.

A close second came from the owner of a candy franchise. Oh my goodness! Enough said.

As long as it’s fun, tasteful and festive, there are no obvious don’ts when it comes to gift bags. Your guests are getting a bag full of goodies that someone spent time and energy putting together and delivering to a hotel for your arrival. With all the other things you have going on in the planning process, guests should be appreciative that you’ve stopped to think of this detail.

Raquel Shutt

Raquel Shutt is the owner of Wedding Savvy Inc., a premier full-service wedding planning company located in Annapolis. For more than 10 years, Wedding Savvy has been featured in many regional publications such as The Knot Magazine, The Washingtonian, and The Capital, as well as featured on We TV’s “Platinum Weddings.” Her firm has been recognized as one of the best by Weddingwire.com and Capital Gazette. Recently, Raquel was named one of Annapolis’ Finest 40 under 40 by Cystic Fibrosis as well as “People to Watch” by The Capital in 2009.